As you may or may not have read in my post “Letter to My Wife”, I am making it my own personal goal to see my Memphis Grizzlies play in every away arena in the NBA.
I have already knocked out Oklahoma City and Boston, so this past week I made the trek down to Dallas to see them take on Dirk Nowitizki and the Mavs.
You might expect when an opposing team’s fan enters the building wearing his team’s gear, he is usually met with some opposition. So in order to help you avoid too much of this and the results that might ensue (especially in crazy cities like Boston), should you decide to see your team play away from home, I am going to give you some rules for how to handle yourself.
Official Away Game Fan Rules
- Cheer loudly for your team and its players, but only when a) they do something good or b) during warm-ups/when they enter the game. Cheering for no reason is annoying. When something awesome happens, don’t go overboard.
- Only cheer loudly against the other team and its players when they a) do something poorly or b) when you are pointing out a very obvious flaw in the player himself (i.e. age, weight, hair, etc.). Again, don’t go overboard.
- Wear your team’s gear proudly.
- When you see another fan of your team, acknowledge him or her with much excitement. High fives and fist bumps are encouraged if you are near enough to do such.
- Do not belittle or confront any of the following fans of the other team: 1) elderly, 2) young (12 and under), 3) handicapped. I once watched a 20 something year old LA Clippers fan (FART NOISE) yell in an elderly woman’s face during a Clips’ win over the Grizz and honestly, I’ve never wanted to kill someone more. I never would want to be that guy.
- Find the broadcasters and radio folks for your team and let them know you are there. Tweet at them. Facebook them. Text them. Whatever. Just make sure they know you are there. They will probably give you a shout out in some way shape or form. Yep. That’s me holding up the Growl Towel next to the guy in the Zach Randolph jersey as tweeted by Rob Fischer.
- If you are close enough, go out of your way to make sure your players know you’re there. They will acknowledge you and show excitement. As a Grizz fan, two of the biggest highlights of my fandom are head nods from ZBO at away games.
- If you get into it with an opposing fan, only make intelligent, witty comments. Nothing profane or inappropriate. For example, while I was there, the Grizz were getting trounced. A lovely gentleman just kept yelling “SCORE. BOARD.” at me, which held value because we were losing. Instead of getting angry and going double birds on him, I just yelled back “REH. CORD.” because the Grizzlies are about 10 games ahead of the Mavs in the standings. People can’t fault you for telling the truth.
- If opposing fans keep after you with belligerent behavior, just laugh it off and be the better person. Live at peace with everyone. Hot coals on their heads. Paul. You know, from The Bible?
- And above all else, the most important rule of all… Don’t leave early. Stick it out with your guys. When they walk off the court, whether in victory or defeat, they will remember the handful of people cheering them on instead of the home team. I would imagine that that’s a pretty cool feeling for someone, even an NBA player.
I know that there aren’t many people who love an NBA team like I love the Grizz, but I would imagine the same rules would apply for most other sports. So take them to heart next time you head to another SEC football stadium, an away MLB stadium, etc.
If the bullet points were too much for you just take this away:
Don’t be a jerk. But be passionate.